Science has translated a spider’s web into music, and the result is … a little creepy

Another feat of science! Have you ever wondered how spiders communicate with each other, with their web and their environment? These are the questions raised by MIT scientists at Phys.org. And guess what, after years of research, they finally found satisfying and even surprising answers.

In close collaboration with contemporary Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno, they created an interactive musical instrument called Spider’s Canvas. This allows you to understand and translate the three-dimensional architecture of the cobwebs, but also the language of these little eight-legged creatures. In fact, it’s all about vibrations, as reported Scientific alert.

Simply put, the bodies and legs of spiders are covered in small hairs and crevices. An anatomical specificity that allows them to distinguish each type of vibration on their canvas. It is through this process that they recognize the sound mark of reckless insects who dare to venture into their nets, but also that of their arachnoid companions in search of a love affair.

MIT engineer Markus Buehler of Phys.org explains: “The spider lives in a vibrant string environment. It can’t see very well, so it perceives the world through vibrations, which have different frequencies.” It also specifies that, contrary to popular belief, cobwebs are not uniform, extended, round, or flat. In fact, most are built on a three-dimensional culture. Thus, leaf nets, interlacing nets, and finally funnel nets can be observed.

To translate the vibrations of the net, the team of researchers placed a spider of the type Cyrtophora citricola – also called Epeira de l’Opuntia – in a rectangular enclosure. Once the web was born from the knowledge of arachnids, scientists created high-definition 2D cross-sectional images of the newly established habitat.

The least we can say is that the result is fascinating. An algorithm has been developed to reconstruct the architecture of the canvas in 3D. Each thread of this natural wired network has been assigned a specific frequency, thus transcribing the canvas and its organization into music. The result was posted on YouTube by Markus Buehler. Listen carefully and listen to the notes generated by the patterns in the structure.

Spoiler alert, for sensitive and arachnophobic souls, the melody is ultra creepy. The truth is that we did not expect less than a spider worthy of the name.

But that’s not all: the people in charge of this study also scanned a canvas during its design process. They understand that they translated every stage of construction into music. See for yourself the changes in notes and tones as the web is woven.

Beyond this musical cacophony, a virtual reality experience not only allows you to observe the process of creating a web, but also slide into the spider’s skin to feel the vibrations it perceives directly. The engineer explains: “By listening to it and seeing it at the same time, you can really begin to understand the environment in which the spider lives.”

This fascinating recording and experiment has allowed science to better understand how spiders weave their cobwebs without structure or support. These findings also lead to even more exciting ideas and even greater ambitions. Imagine that one day, by exposing spiders to certain patterns of rhythms or vibrations, scientists manage to influence their actions or, even crazier, to communicate with them. Let’s digress, but who knows? Maybe one day our Spiderman dreams will come true.

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